It was all a good-natured, comradely bit of mischievous fun, but I'm glad we did it. It's a sort of ad hoc micro-adjunct to Mark ChickenF1sh's terrific (and far better organised / thought-out) Noise in Opposition compilations / site. I bashed out a few words for context (typos now hopefully corrected, as I was trying to do this inbetween working, kids' bedtimes, etc...) ...
“The UK Independence Party,” says Wikipedia, “is a Eurosceptic right-wing populist political party in the United Kingdom, founded in 1993. The party describes itself in its constitution as a “democratic, libertarian party.” It all sounds fairly tame on paper or an HTML-page, but UKIP – leader Nigel Farage and his ilk – have become, by accident or design, a magnet for the more odious end of so-called ‘Englishness’, attracting a mixed Little Britain / White Van Man constituency by pretending to be sympathetic to their age-old prejudices and preconceptions. UKIP prey on and exploit MittelEngland’s fear of Otherness.
In some ways, UKIP are worse than traditional groups of fascists and racists, because they pretend to be apolitical: Farage regularly (and loudly) self-admits (mainly for the benefit of the cowardly, chickenshit media) that “we have no real policies;” “we don’t know what we’re doing;” “we don’t even know what is on our own webpage;” “our last manifesto wasn’t actually serious;” etc. That they deny they have a solid position on any issue beyond a vague anti-EU "Johnny Foreigner" sentiment would be a piece of surreal high-farce theatre, were it not for the fact that it is completely disingenuous and utterly cynical: a strategy designed to make the party slippery, elusive and ‘reasonable’ – to render them intangible, place them in a post-dialectical zone somewhere beyond logic and reason where arguments can't quite ignite, where criticism can never stick.
Farage & co. are a very 21st century sort of ‘threat’ in that they are chimerical: ex-bankers pretend to be everymen; they hate Europe, yet stand as MEPs (to fight the ‘corrupt’ EU system “from within” – though, how, exactly, is never quite made clear: what, by merely turning up for minimum attendance hours and claiming their expenses?); they shift through an entire spectrum of non-positions like air-socks twisting in the wind; constantly shrugging off accusations of racism and homophobia, facing every single direction at once; we’re just “saying what everyone else thinks,” they claim (though exactly what that is, is never fully expressed), and always smiling, smiling, smiling…
Many of UKIP’s mixed inner-city / suburban demographic would be horrified if you called them racists or homophobes to their faces; nevertheless... UKIP’s mere existence – bolstered by their populist, unchallenged media-profile – makes them a lodestone for xenophobia, a rallying-point for muttered contempt around gender-expression and same-sex marriages. Fear of ‘The Other’ surfaces regularly around Farage: his party inflames a form of perpetual anxiety, creates division rather than celebrating diversity.
One of the problems facing activists in an era where traditional Left-Right divides have melted into an undifferentiated Neo-Lib Soft Centre - where the enemy has evaporated into a mist of pseudo-inflammatory (but perfectly legal) buzzphrases about 'immigration' and hides in a hall of mirrors, behind veils of ‘reasonableness’, peeps at us through CCTV cameras, runs call-centres, exists in a tax-neutral 'Cloud' - is how to identify and oppose something that constantly re-camouflages itself, that refuses to be pinned down, that claims to be apolitical – that says it's on the side of an unspoken consensus?
One way we do this by identifying its infrastructural signature – the physical-world conduits, pipelines and processes by which it communicates, does its business, attracts revenue or support. We locate these and then we disrupt them.
This ‘release’ is a series of ad hoc 10-second NoiseBursts created by various UK musicians and artists in response to the existence of UKIP. They are meant as a small, spontaneous, united response – a tiny coming-together of people – the micro-polar-opposite of UKIP. The artists involved may sit on different points on the political spectrum – it doesn’t matter – we are all agreed on one thing:
UKIP do not speak for us.
We believe that if Britain is great in any way, then it is diversity and difference that potentially makes it great, that allows it to constantly reinvent itself and evolve. We want to be part of a community that reflects and embraces difference, that celebrates it.
These NoiseBursts are intended to disrupt UKIP’s background infrastructure, to tilt their signal-to-noise ratio towards ‘noise.’ They are meant to be used in acts of creative mischief -- not to deafen call-centre workers or terrorise folks trapped on zero-hour contracts. None of the artists involved condone violence or aggressive, spiteful and intimidating behaviour. Our intent is to creatively disrupt on a microscopic scale – and to slowly, persuasively win the longer-term argument in pubs and in the workplace, to work towards finally removing the fear that groups like UKIP thrive on.